There are mornings when you struggle to focus on your Henry James book on the bus because two girls of indeterminate age are looming right over your shoulder and one is blathering on, enumerating the ways in which her boyfriend “acted like a girl” last night, and the other is nodding and saying “That’s funny,” but not laughing, because it’s not actually funny, and what you feel is hate, what you feel is quietly superior, until you tune in a few moments later to hear them describing with venom the cast member on VH-1’s Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew whom they despise, and you’ve seen that show, because you’re not really as high-culture as you like to think you are, and you despise that cast member too, and suddenly you are one with these girls, because in the end it’s hate that binds us all together.
Alice Yorke, age 15, in a history class debate about abortion being dominated by the insufferable young man who would later be our valedictorian, with only a few seconds left on the clock, whips out a coat hanger as a shock tactic, making everyone in the room (except for her friends, who knew this was coming and in some cases [mine] skipped lunch to watch) extremely uncomfortable.
“Inspired by a Russian friend, the couple became regulars at a Russian-style bathhouse in Lower Manhattan, where he and Ms. Straus would whack each other with supple oak branches, a method of stimulating circulation.”—If you don’t read the New York TimesVows column regularly, you’re basically missing out on life.
And here's (part of) a story about the time Alice couldn't account for an hour of her life:
Alice Yorke collected minutes like pennies, and would keep them in an adorable pink piggy bank in her heart, if such a thing was possible. Believe you me, Alice was duly crushed when she learned that this very thing was not possible. So naturally, she was not known to kill time. She wore three brightly colored Swatch watches on each arm, and two on each leg. She was never late, for anything. And she would never, ever, waste precious moments describing the bagels that she had eaten at an establishment called Hot Jumbo Bagels, especially if in those moments she said things like “Jumbo isn’t a word I would use…Hot Just Right Bagels…or Hot Everything I Would Want Bagels…that’s more like it.” This sort of pointless tangent would defy her very nature, and lead to much agony on the part of the story’s sole listener, whoever that poor devil might hypothetically be.
So when young Alice’s lovely and talented bubble gum fairy princess aspiring poetess pop song enthusiast roommate, Katharine Coyle (known to the world as Katie, or more often, KatieCoyle), handed her an engraved invitation to the latter’s swinging karaoke birthday jamboree, Alice had to think long and hard before accepting. Was this swinging karaoke birthday jamboree really the most effective use of Alice’s so-very-precious time? Would the evening’s guaranteed recklessness and depravity cause her to perhaps forget how she spent a few of those delectable seconds, and if so, could she survive the subsequent misery? Though Alice found herself unable to answer these questions, in that she is only 89% psychically accurate, she decided to attend Katie’s night of revelry. In truth, she just really wanted to sing Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.”
“Please make sure, when you buy a ticket for ‘Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,’ to pronounce the title in full. I know you will. There was a plan to call it ‘Push,’ until another movie got there first. But why not call the new one ‘Precious,’ and leave it at that? After all, Deborah Kerr didn’t star in ‘The Innocents: Based on the Novella ‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James,’ and Dustin Hoffman didn’t star in ‘Rain Man: Based on the Overwhelming Desire to Win an Academy Award by Dustin Hoffman,’ so why the change in rubric?”—Woah, Anthony Lane. This is a misleading, if funny, statement which would make one believe that Dustin Hoffman hadn’t won an Oscar before Rain Man, when in fact he’d already done so, for Kramer Vs. Kramer in 1979. This is a distinction that is important to me as someone who memorized all the Best Picture winners when I was 12 and had no friends, someone who still has this useless knowledge in her already-crowded head, someone who last night heard a commercial for The Last Emperor on Turner Classic Movies at 1 a.m. and murmured sleepily to her boyfriend, “Best Picture, 1987. Right between Platoon and Rain Man.”
I’m doing my part on behalf of the Phillies and my older brother, a lifelong Yankees fan, is bearing the brunt of it. Unfortunately I don’t really know much about baseball and so his Facebook page is inundated by statements like, “They’re not hitting A-Rod with the ball ENOUGH!” and “Phillies rule, Yankees drool!”